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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Baseball’s pennant races have finally been grabbing the national headlines in recent days because exciting chases are going down in all six divisions. That increased attention is going to get kicked up another notch this week when two of the best teams in the Majors square off in a four-game RIVALRY showdown!

It’s the Los Angeles Angels taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both teams will host half the series, with festivities beginning Monday Night at Chavez Ravine…longtime home of the Dodgers.

Even though the Dodgers lead their NL West division, and the Angels are trailing Oakland in the AL West, it’s the Halos who have the better record entering this series. Were these two teams in the same division, the Dodgers would be looking up at the Angels. And, with LAA playing in the better league, the Halos have a better record against a tougher schedule. Keep THAT in mind as you handicap this series.



Angels: 4.82 runs per game, .328 on-base, .415 slugging

Dodgers: 4.16 runs per game, .328 on-base, .398 slugging

The runs-per-game differential is misleading because the Halos get to use a DH most of the time while the Dodgers rarely do. Both of those represent elite numbers in their respective leagues. The Angels are second best to Oakland’s potent attack in the AL, while the Dodgers are second best “park-adjusted” behind Milwaukee in the NL. Amazing that the Dodgers can match the Angels in on-base percentage with pitchers hitting! Two elite offenses, either of whom can pound vulnerable pitching when they see it.



MONDAY’S PITCHERS (at Chavez Ravine)

Garrett Richards: 2.74 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 8.9 K-Rate

Zack Greinke: 2.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 9.9 K-Rate

Richards has seen his ERA jump a quarter of a run after two straight non-quality starts. They weren’t necessarily bad outings, allowing 4 runs apiece to the Orioles and Tigers. But, it is a reminder that he’s likely to regress back to earth in this surprising season…and that he may be vulnerable vs. the best offenses. Greinke gets overshadowed by Clayton Kershaw’s ungodly numbers. But, he is providence ace caliber performances that would have had him in the Cy Young conversation with more run support. Probably an edge to Greinke because he has more big game experience, and because the Halos had to fly across the country without a day off for this opener.


TUESDAY’S PITCHERS (at Chavez Ravine)

Hector Santiago: 3.76 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 8.1 K-Rate

Clayton Kershaw: 1.71 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 11.1 K-Rate

Tough spot for Santiago, who was used in emergency relief duty a few days ago in that long game against the Orioles. At least he was credit with the win! He’s likely to pitch worse than those full season stats would suggest in this awkward rest situation. And, you get the sense that the Halos stuck him in this spot so they wouldn’t have to waste one of their top arms against Kershaw.



Dan Haren: 4.76 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 6.7 K-Rate

Matt Shoemaker: 4.09 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.6 K-Rate

Haren has fallen apart, posting an ERA larger than 10.00 over his last five starts! He definitely won’t be getting any postseason starts at this pace, and may be off the roster if he can’t get anything figured out. Bad luck to have to face this AL offense with the DH in the AL park. Shoemaker has been inconsistent, mixing some stellar outings with some bad ones. You saw Oakland and Detroit make headlines last week with big pitching acquisitions. The Angels sure look to be in trouble with the arms they’re going to have to put on the mound in the postseason.



Hyun-Jin Ryu: 3.39 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 8.01 K-Rate

C. J. Wilson: 4.74 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 8.3 K-Rate

Ryu has settled in as a very solid performer, with quality starts in nine of his last 10 outings. The Dodgers didn’t make any trades for starting pitching last week because they’re confident that a Kershaw-Greinke-Beckett-Ryu quartet will be tough to beat in October. Wilson has been an AL version of Haren with a recent collapse. Except, his ERA is over 12 over his last five starts! You know the Angels have to have a fantastic offense if they’ve posted such a great won-lost record with this starting rotation.

Interesting challenge for handicappers. The Angels have better overall team credentials comning in. But, it’s the Dodgers who seem better suited for “playoff style” baseball given their starting rotation. It’s very likely that JIM HURLEY will have at least one big play in this four-game series. You can purchase all the BEST BETS every day right here at this website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Great combination packages for baseball and football are available.

We’ll have a great mix of baseball and football the next few days here in the NOTEBOOK! Pennant race coverage will be featured on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday. We’ll devote the football days to continuing NFL divisional previews as the first FULL week of pro action gets under way Thursday. Here’s the current schedule…

Tuesday: MLB Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays

Wednesday: MLB TV Preview: Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals on ESPN

Thursday: NFC West Preview…to get you ready for 49ers vs. Ravens on NFLN

Friday: NFC South Preview…to get you ready for Saints vs. Rams on NFLN

Saturday: NFC North Preview to get you ready for Lions vs. Browns on NFLN

Sunday: MLB TV Preview: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves

Enjoy this week’s HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER baseball…and put YOUR NAME in lights by signing up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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